Dumbbell one-arm lateral raise exercise

Dumbbell one-arm lateral raise

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Lateral Deltoid
  • Synergists: Anterior Deltoid, Supraspinatus, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Serratus Anterior
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Stand holding a dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Lean forward a little by flexing your hip.
  3. Externally rotate your shoulder so that your palm faces forward instead of your thigh.


  1. Keeping your elbow slightly flexed and your shoulder externally rotated, exhale as you raise the dumbbell out to your side until your elbow is shoulder height.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  5. Repeat the exercise with your opposite arm.

Comments and tips

  • Leaning forward a little will ensure that you target your lateral deltoid and not your anterior deltoid.
  • Externally rotating your shoulder will reduce the risk of shoulder impingement. See the video.
  • To protect your elbow joint, keep your elbow slightly flexed.
  • Keep your back straight and your torso still.
  • Control the full range of movement. Do not use momentum to raise the dumbbell, and avoid allowing the dumbbell to drop after you raise it. Instead, try to resist the lowering phase of the repetition.
  • Compared with the standard dumbbell lateral raise in which you use both arms, the dumbbell one-arm lateral raise forces the recruitment of more muscles for stabilization, especially in your core.
  • As with all unilateral exercises, start the dumbbell one-arm lateral raise with your weak side, and never do more repetitions with your strong side. This will promote the development of equal strength on both sides.
  • Use the dumbbell one-arm lateral raise to strengthen and build your lateral deltoid, which will give you broader shoulders.
  • See also the kettlebell lateral raise, the leaning dumbbell lateral raise, and the cable one-arm lateral raise.

Dumbbell one-arm lateral raise video

In this video, the guy from AthleanX explains why you should externally rotate your shoulder and lean forward when you perform the dumbbell one-arm lateral raise (or any other type of shoulder lateral raise).


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